Online class to teach Dwarf Fortress

Gweek listener Nekomancer says: "If anyone is interested in learning Dwarf Fortress, I am teaching a class on how to play from the basics to the advanced aspects over at University of Reddit. All are welcome!"

Dwarf Fortress Basics is a class for beginner to intermediate players. I will be covering all aspects of the Fortress Mode from world generation, to more advanced topics such as military and nobles.

Class begins August 3rd!

View class: Dwarf Fortress Basics.


  1. Sadly I don’t have time for such complex games in my life these days. That’s why I like “Cut the Rope,” a game whose title is also its instruction manual.

  2. In the picture, what is that visualization tool? Does it work in game? I tried Dwarf Fortress because of the article but the interface is maddening and something more aesthetic and easy on the eyes would be nice.

    1. I haven’t played DF for longer than the three minutes it takes one to RAEGQUIT the first time, but I think it’s called StoneSense?

    2. According to their site, StoneSense is not real time.  They recommend something called 3Dwarf for such a thing.  I’m interested to know what kind of processing power is required for such a thing, the DF creators pretty much imply that DF is running a huge load.

      1. DF runs on a single processing thread, and is constantly calculating weather patterns, water flows, pathing and hundreds of other things that affect gameplay (down to the temperature changes of rock that abuts against magma, or the amount of time it takes to smelt copper ore.) There are steps you can take to maximize frame rate (, and the engine is being worked on to make it more efficient. Even high-end computers start running into frame rate issues once your population gets above 100 or so, which is why there’s a soft cap of 200 dwarves set as the default population max.

      2. The load involved is remarkable even with just text mode running. DF is one of the few programs that actually benefit from running on the fastest computer you can get your hands on.

    3. I believe that’s the Stonesense utility. It’s just a map viewer, not a UI replacement. You can view your fortress, but you can’t play the game through it.

    4. This is Stonesense Slate, a visualization utility for Dwarf Fortress. It works by reading the running memory of the game and rendering a representation of the most recent captured frame using isometric sprites provided with the utility. There are many similar utilities, but Stonesense is by far the best-looking of them, in my opinion. If you’re looking to get into Dwarf Fortress but the ASCII is hard on your eyes, I would recommend the Lazy Newb Pack, {} I personally use the Phoebus graphics tileset, as it is the most complete and aesthetically pleasing one that I have used. That’s the link to the wiki, which, if you play Dwarf Fortress, is the only instruction manual you’ll get. It’s easy to get discouraged, I personally flooded twenty forts before I got aqueducts down.

      If you lose quickly the first dozen or so times, remember– LOSING IS FUN!

  3. DF in the picture is using one of the tilesets. Yes, it works in the game (as I recall, though, the names (of dwarves, cities etc.) can no longer have special characters (accents, umlauts, thorn, eth, etc.) when you use a tileset).

  4. The image is from a “visualization” utility called Stonesense. This utility will read a DF map and generate a pretty rendering of it.

    The version I’m aware of runs separate from the DF game, it’s a separate program.

  5. I’ve loved DF for so long, but eventually quit after I stopped losing on accident, and had to make my own Fun.

    But if this tileset could be made realtime (I see that it cannot) … it would be like a whole new game.  Two more years of my life, gone.

  6. I know everyone complains about the lack of modern graphics, but really that is one of the best parts of the game. By having to look around, read and mentally piece together the details of what is happening it allows your imagination to create a more rich and satisfying image of unfolding events. Think of it like reading a really good book – the movie is never as good.The graphical tilesets (I like Phoebus) are a good compromise and definitely help ease the new player into deciphering the presentation of the game. 

    Also of note – after trying to learn the game three different times (and failing) this guys videos finally got me over the hump (and it doesn’t hurt that they are HILARIOUS to watch)

    Also the “Lazy Newb Pack” is VERY useful (even to non-newbs)

    1. Dah! You posted nearly what I did. I should’ve looked, this is actually quite a good introduction, and I daresay better by far than my post.

  7. I experienced a similar thing, but now all these NY Times and boing boing articles are drawing me back.

    I am dreaming up several mega projects as we speak…

  8. Boy, the more I hear the more I both want and fear playing this game.  So far fear is winning but a streaming class could swing the pendulum back the other way.

  9. Use Phoebus:

    Out of the options within Phoebus, Beefmo’s units are the best.

    Don’t forget to try adventure mode. It’s totally different from fortress mode.

    Here’s a question in all caps, because everyone loves all caps so much that they notice things like all caps when you’re trying to get their attention and appreciate that you used it to do so:

    DOES ANYONE KNOW THE NAME OF THE SONG at the very end of gweek010? The Dwarf Fortress gweek?

  10. It’s actually not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. I botched the obligatory first attempt, but my second fort was a relative success and by the third one I was already ironing out designs.

    So I strongly recommend to give it a try and push past the first few tentative forts. This game really rewards patience and forbearance. And as others have pointed out, the Lazy Newb Pack is a huge help (I use the Ironhand tileset, Dwarf Therapist and Soundsense).

  11. The problem with me is that DF is, apparently, non-functioning is OSX Lion. I dabbled a few months back but didn’t have the time to get into it properly. Would love to try again but it doesn’t work.

  12. it’s actually not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. I botched
    the obligatory first attempt, but my second fort was a relative success
    and by the third one I was already ironing out designs.

Comments are closed.